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By a single bright light

Students participate in Read By Flashlight event at Butler Elementary

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Dan Harris holds the flashlight for his daughter, Leah Harris, 7, as she reads a book by flashlight Thursday night in the gym at Butler Elementary School during Dodger Academy’s annual Flashlight Reading Night. Cory Harris, 11 months, enjoys the event from his car seat as he explores his feet.

The students attending the annual Dodger Academy Read By Flashlight Thursday afternoon had their choice of three different levels of illumination.

There was the library with dimmed lights, the cafeteria with bright lights and the gym, completely dark.

One of those, with a nod to a certain story with three bears in it, would be just right.

Dan Harris and his daughter Leah Harris, 7, opted for a flashlight in the gym.

“It’s cool,” she said. “We did it last year.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Nayoli Brown, 7, at left, along with her friend Kaleiya Mosley, 8, center, enjoy reading a book Thursday night as Brown’s grandmother, Tina Brown, right, holds her cell phone to provide the illumation during Dodger Academy at Butler Elementary School.

She enjoyed a National Geographic book on sea otters.

“They use their stomachs for plates, they smash food on rocks and they can hold their breath for five minutes,” she said.

She also learned about their groups, called rafts.

“So the rafts are either all girls or all boys,” she said.

Also, she discovered, they’re not good pets.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Montana Peterson, 8, enjoys reading her book Thursday afternoon during Dodger Academy at Butler Elementary during the annual flashlight reading night. Mary Ann Roux, of Fort Dodge along with her mom, Terry Haas, right, also of Fort Dodge listen with therapy dogs Jordan and Snoopy, right.

“No,” she said. “Its teeth are super big.”

Her dad is a strong proponent of reading with his daughter.

“Every night we read a book,” he said.

He’s also made sure there’s a well-stocked library.

“How many books do you think we have?” he asked her.

Apparently, plenty but not the right ones.

“I want to get rid of them, they’re all about imaginary animals,” she said. “We need more about real animals, I like real ones.”

Her brother, Cory Harris, 11 months, reclined in his car seat nearby.

She’s nicknamed him “Corn dog.” According to her own observations, he’s learned on his own.

“He learned to stick out his tongue and spit,” she said.

Tina Brown read with her granddaughter, Nayoli Brown, 7, and Nayoli Brown’s friend, Kaleiya Mosley, 8.

They found a seat in the gym.

“I like graphic novels,” Mosley said.

“I like movie books,” Brown said.

Grandma has her own taste.

“You like nonfiction books and you like cooking books,” Nayoli Brown said.

They also read a lot at home and are frequent visitors to the library.

Montana Peterson, 8, opted for the dimmed lights of the library where she also had the company of Jordan and Snoopy, two therapy dogs brought along by Mary Ann Roux and Terry Haas, both of Fort Dodge.

Peterson doesn’t have a favorite genre.

“I just really like the one I’m reading,” Peterson said.

She’s also no stranger to reading to dogs.

“Sometimes we go to my cousin’s house and they have a dog we read to,” she said. “Her name is Sadie.”

Erin Brookshire, the director of the Dodger Academy program, said that the program’s extra reading efforts along with Butler’s extra efforts have resulted in an improvement in the students recent test scores.

She said there are plenty of benefits to reading: relaxation, reducing stress and continuing to learn among them.

She also said that students who read at home with their parents also do better in school.

All of the books read Thursday were donated by the Kiwanis Club. Each child got to keep their volume.

“All of the students were able to take home the book they read,” Brookshire said.